Marathon #5 – ABP Southampton Marathon

Great support again from the Isle of Wight Road Runners Crew!

So just 7 days after the London Marathon, and it was time for my May marathon. I have never done marathons this close together, so was expecting it to be a challenge – and it did not disappoint on that front!

I knew going into this one that I was not fully recovered, I could just feel it.

So in between, I did a couple of little runs. Not training runs, just trying to get my legs moving again. I also had an excellent massage from Ivan at Medina Sports Massage which was definitely a big help.

Despite my best efforts, I was still not 100%, and not just my legs, I could feel in my general well being, I was just feeling a bit tired.

Still, race day arrived and it was time to get on with it! An early start on the 5:30am ferry from the Isle of Wight for an early race start at 9am.

I did consider approaching the run differently and starting off slower, but decided I didn’t want to ‘die wondering’ whether I could have hit 4 hours again. So aimed to set off at around 8:30 per mile and see what happened.

The first mile, was 8 minutes, followed by 4 miles around 8:30s. However, all was not quite right, and I was starting to get some discomfort in my left hamstring. By the time the first half was done, I’d slowed quite a bit already, after all, more important to finish than hit the target time.

I got to halfway in around 1:56, but that didn’t tell the full story, I had slowed quite a bit. The second half was just about crossing the line, getting the medal, and ticking off marathon #5, which I did in 4 hours and 11 minutes, happy with that.

So what was the Southampton Marathon like as an event? Well, I always find something to moan about… First up, the relaxed nature of people’s starting positions did bother me. The start pen had flags up indicating target times, but too many people just ignored them. I passed a lot of people in the first couple of miles, who had clearly started way too close to the front, really…. what is the point?! One in particular, within the first 500 yards, was an old man who had started walking by the time I passed him. He didn’t look injured, looked quite comfortable, but had just decided he needed to be at the front jostling for position, even though run / walking the course. I don’t get it.

The run itself is quite good. Not too hilly, but it did have a few inclines. Inevitably on a two lap run, the second half seems to lack something. I’d guess I’m only a third of the way back through the marathon runners, but when I came through lap two there were way less runners, supporters, and some of the entertainment areas (music etc) were already being packed away.

Generally though, the course is good, nice touch to go through the football stadium (I did wish all the stewards in the ground ‘Play Up Pompey’ which they seemed to appreciate), and running through the parks is nice. The support was generally good from the locals in the first half, the latter stages got a bit quite, especially having been spoiled at London the week before!

The medal is OK, the T-Shirt is very good, but the rest of the goodie bag was a bit pants. At the end of the marathon a load of leaflets is really not what you are hoping to find to munch on!

A good day out, and a course I’ll probably take on again one day, so thank you Southampton. Time for a bit of rest before Yeovil in June 🙂

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